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Delay Pregnancy After a Miscarriage?

A newborn girl in Lima, Peru, last year.
A newborn girl in Lima, Peru, last year.

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

A miscarriage is the natural loss of a baby before the twentieth week of pregnancy. Experts say many pregnancies end before a woman even knows she was pregnant. Up to twenty percent of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

Miscarriages are generally caused by genetic problems with the baby that prevent it from developing. But whatever the cause, the loss of a pregnancy can be heartbreaking. And sometimes the advice that women receive after a miscarriage can also be heartbreaking.

Some women are told to wait before they try to get pregnant again. A two thousand five report from the World Health Organization advised waiting at least six months. Some doctors advise women to wait even longer.

But a Scottish study published in twenty-ten found no need to delay. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen examined the medical records of thirty thousand women. The women visited Scottish hospitals between nineteen eighty-one and two thousand. They had miscarriages in their first known pregnancies and became pregnant again.

The study found that eighty-five percent of women who waited less than six months to get pregnant had live births. That compared to seventy-three percent of women who waited more than two years.

Those who quickly became pregnant again were less likely to have a dangerous pregnancy form in their fallopian tubes. They were less likely to lose their fetus after twenty weeks, known as a stillbirth. They were also less likely to give birth by caesarean section. And they had fewer preterm births and fewer babies with low birth weight.

The study found that about forty percent of women became pregnant again within six months. Twenty-five percent got pregnant within six to twelve months.

The women who quickly became pregnant again after a miscarriage were more likely to be older. Older women might be less likely to delay because they know there are more risks with pregnancy the older they get.

The twenty-ten report appeared in the BMJ, the British Medical Journal. The researchers pointed out that their results were limited to Scottish records and could not be generalized to all women. For example, women in developing countries start having children at an earlier age than females in Western countries.

And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. Find us online at I’m Faith Lapidus.